Three Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that three co-defendants pleaded guilty in federal court this week to aiding and abetting a fraudulent tax return preparation scheme that claimed nearly $340,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.
Jeannette R. Dunn, 48, of Huntsville, Ark., formerly of Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to two counts of making false claims.
Co-defendant Asia Michelle Couchman, 26, of Oak Grove, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of making false claims on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Co-defendant Delbert L. Allen, 37, of Pleasant Hope, Mo., formerly of Springfield, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false claims on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015.
Co-defendant Cherie Christine Dupuis, 43, of Springfield, pleaded guilty on July 21, 2015, to leading the fraudulent tax return preparation conspiracy. Dupuis admitted that she and co-conspirators defrauded the government by filing false claims for income tax refunds from February 2009 to March 2012. In the false and fraudulent federal income tax returns they prepared and filed, conspirators claimed refunds from the IRS totaling approximately $340,630, of which approximately $336,839 was false. Over the course of the scheme, the total actual tax loss to the IRS was $284,169.
Dupuis and other conspirators recruited individuals, such as Dunn, Couchman and Allen, to assist in filing fraudulent returns, and obtained their identifying information (including their names and Social Security numbers). They used that information to file federal income tax returns that included fictitious employment information and reported wages that had not been earned and employment taxes that had not been withheld. Conspirators shared employer information for the purpose of creating fictitious W-2 forms. They also shared dependent information to enable them to falsely claim dependents on their returns.
Dupuis admitted that she filed fraudulent federal income tax returns in her own name and for at least 19 other individuals. Dupuis would usually split the fraudulent refunds with her co-conspirators. The total amount of the false claims Dupuis personally prepared and/or filed was approximately $298,708, with approximately $256,281 being paid on these false claims and a loss to the government of approximately $213,711.
Dunn admitted that she aided and abetted Dupuis, and was aided and abetted by Dupuis, in filing false federal income tax returns in 2011 and 2012. Both returns listed wages that Dunn had not received and claimed refunds to which Dunn knew she was not entitled. The total loss to the government was $11,184.
Couchman admitted that she aided and abetted Dupuis, and was aided and abetted by Dupuis, in filing a false tax return in 2011. That tax return listed wages that Couchman had not received and claimed a refund to which she was not entitled. After receiving a $9,717 refund, Couchman gave Dupuis approximately $3,000 from the proceeds.
Allen admitted that he aided and abetted Dupuis, and was aided and abetted by Dupuis, in filing false federal income tax returns in 2011 and 2012. Both returns listed wages that Allen had not received and claimed refunds to which Allen knew he was not entitled. In both years, Allen’s fraudulent refunds were applied to a non-IRS related debt of Allen’s, resulting in a total loss to the government of $14,623.
Under federal statutes, Dunn, Allen and Dupuis are each subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution. Couchman is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.